ThermalTake V1 CPU Cooler Review

Post by Maxime Rousseau

If your looking for a high end air cooler that performs abnormally well, even when compared to some of the lower end liquid cooling systems, look no further. I bought this mostly for the looks, and because I absolutely wanted something from Thermaltake, but I got way more than what I expected. The all copper V shapped heatpipe design, coupled with a stylish yet efficient fan that can push up to 86 CFM is the way to go for Thermaltake: the result is a silent and powerful cooler.

Packaging

Considering the fragility of the heat sink fins which are very thin for greater surface area, Thermaltake did a nice job of packing this cooler. Inside the cardboard box, the plastic clamshell holds the V1 and it's accessories very well, maybe even a little too well: I had to tug at the base of the cooler to get it out, and seeing the fragility of the fins, I had to be very careful. The contents of the box were the following:

Product Quality

Although at first glance the V1 looks perfect, a few minor defects, most of them having little to no impact on product performance. The biggest one is the use of something that looks like thermal adhesive to join the heapipes and the fins instead of soldering the two together. This sounds like a horrible ripoff when you first hear it, but just thinking about it a bit more will clarify things: soldering the 4 heatpipes to all 110 + fins would have skyrocketed the production prices, and resulted in a cooler than nobody can afford. In my opinion, we really can't blame Thermaltake for letting go on something like this. The second little fault is the quality of the base's contact surface. Us overclockers, when shopping for a cooler, look mainly for a quality base, dense and machine to perfection. Although Thermaltake's product page says the V1 has a "mirror coating base", what I got wasn't exactly that: the surface was a tad unequal, and milling marks were pretty clear. Still, considering that I have not yet to this day seen a cooler with a perfect base out of the box, it isn't bad. If you want a perfect base, grab a 5$ sanding kit and lap it yourself.

Installation

Installation was quick and painless. The LGA775 push-pin mounts that I have used fit just like the Intel stock cooler on my motherboard, contact between base and CPU is superb. Although I can't recall the amount of sleepless nights I've spent wondering if the V1 would fit my case, I can now confirm that this cooler does fit the EVGA 680i SE SLI in a Thermaltake Armor Jr. with no interference from either the power supply up above of the abnormally high northbridge cooler right below. This cooler is a big one, so don't be thinking that you could be stuffing this in a Micro-ATX case. I would say that 85 % of mid tower can potentially house this cooler, the other deterministic factor being the position of the CPU on your motherboard, which shouldn't a problem in most cases, and even less if you have one of those almost center-mounted CPU DFI boards. I've seen some people run out of space in smaller cases and mount it so that the air is shot up, but I think that it just defeats the purpose of having a flow-through cooler.

Performance

During all the tests, the conditions were the following: 20 C ambient temperature, in my basement. I define Idle as 0% CPU usage with the only thing running being the OS desktop. Full load is 100% CPU usage, attained with the Gromacs test of Orthos dual core edition. The test rig is my Thermaltake Armor Jr, with EVGA 680i SE SLI, Core 2 Duo e6750 G0 stepping, 2 gigs of Corsair XMS2-PC2-6400C4, and an EVGA 8800 GTS SC 320 mb.

First, the stock Intel cooler. I installed the cooler with it's stock thermal wax (?), and all temperatures were taken with 100 % fan speed.

Stock clocks, idle: 40 C Stock clocks, load: 67 C 3.2 ghz @ 1.4 Vcore, idle: 43 C 3.2 ghz @ 1.4 Vcore, load: 69 C

Now, the same rig, but outfitted with the V1 and a super slick application of Arctic Silver 5. All temperatures were recored with the cooler at minimum speed. I would have love to try it out at higher speeds, but unfortunately due to a bad fan configuration (high pressure between V1 and extract fan caused by insufficient extraction fan), I only got higher temperatures from increasing the fan speed. Remember, the V1 pushes some 90 CFM at top speed, so a 50 CFM fan just can't hold up.

Stock clocks, idle: 28 C Stock clocks, load: 52 C 3.2 ghz @ 1.4 Vcore, idle: 30 C 3.2 ghz @ 1.4 Vcore, load: 56 C

Considering the less than perfect case fan setup, the 13 degrees drop at full load is something that I think is very good, specially at minimum speed.

My tips

What more is there to be said? Sure, if you want to save a couple of additional degrees, you might want to go with the super coolers like the Tuniq Tower, or also from Thermaltake the Big Typhoon, but if you want a nice balance of style and performance, the V1 is for you. At 70$, it isn't cheap, but compare it to the lower end water cooling systems, both price wise and performance wise and it becomes much appealing.

Thermaltake product page.